Well, there's good news from the cable company. (TCI, that is).
As anticipated, CTV: The Comedy Network is finally going to make it onto the nation's largest cable systems operator.You may recall that a pair of competing comedy networks debuted a couple of years ago - MTV-owned HA! and Home Box Office-owned The Comedy Channel. (But you would have had to read about it because neither was ever available in Utah.)
At a time when may cable systems were running out of channel capacity, most weren't willing to bet on the survival of either HA! or The Comedy Channel. Instead, operators sat back to see which would survive the war.
As it turns out, both survived. But only after prolonged merger negotiations that finally resulted in the combined CTV.
"We have always recognized the broad appeal of an all-comedy network, and we're extremely positive about the concept," said J.C Sparkman, TCI's executive vice president and chief operating officer. "And now with two comedy networks combined into a single, stronger channel . . . we believe CT will be a very popular basic channel in years ahead."
In other words, now that the two competitors have stopped spilling their own blood, TCI is finally going to take the plunge.
CTV is a combination of original programming and classic shows from the '50s, '60s and '70s.
No word yet on exactly when the channel will be added in Utah, but TCI plans to begin "rolling out" CTV on its many systems in June.FOXY MOVE: There's more business news out of TCI, and this particular bit has the folks at the Fox Broadcasting Co. dancing for joy.
TCI and Fox have finalized an agreement that mandates that FBC programming will be carried on all the cable giant's systems across the country.
Specific points include:
- A "must carry" agreement under which TCI will carry all local Fox affiliates.
Most Fox stations are UHF stations, and not all are showing up on cable.
- An agreement that mandates that TCI will move the Fox affiliate to a VHF position on its menu.
What this means is that even if the affiliate is something like Ch. 53, it will be placed between channels 2 and 13 on the cable dial. This is very important, because the lower-numbered channels are by far the most watched by cable subscribers.
- And in areas where there is no Fox affiliate, TCI will add FBC programming on the newly formed FOX NET - and 18-hour-per-day service that will include FBC prime-time programming, the Fox Children's Network (mostly cartoons) as well as addition programming from the Fox archives and some syndicated shows.
This is a real biggie - it means Fox will now be available to more than 95 percent of the country. FBC has fewer local affiliates than the Big Three networks and now covers much less of the U.S, putting Fox at a competitive disadvantage.
Now, locally, this isn't going to mean a whole lot to us. FBC is carried here on Fox-owned Ch. 13, a strong VHF station.
But nationally, Fox has been playing on an uneven field with the other networks. This agreement will help even that up a bit - and could change the national rating figures significantly.